The Usage of Dramatic Irony in Romeo and Juliet

Essay by ChicherinaJunior High, 9th grade August 2004

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There are many instances in which William Shakespeare shapes our modern works of art and literature, doing so by remaining the most spoken playwright of his century. Besides his many privileges, he had used some literary elements that have great discussion in the present day, such as his usage of irony, foreshadowing, unconscious hypocrisy and other literary elements. They are used today as well, but in the past centuries, the combination of those elements was the technique which was the most appealing to the audience, the one, actually, used by Shakespeare. One of those elements is dramatic irony, which is based on the contrast of reality and misconception. In dramatic irony this contrast depends on the difference between what the character believes and what the audience knows to be true. The usage of dramatic irony, combined with other literary elements, builds suspense, tension, and concern for the characters in the play - one thing that the playwright or a writer desires to achieve.

Dramatic irony is a plot device usually used when writing tragedies such as in a play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. In Romeo and Juliet tragedy, Shakespeare used this element to intensify the play. He had done so successfully, because by the effect, it is one of the most famous plays in our history. Presumably, Shakespeare uses other characters to mention some information to let the reader wonder what the other character that doesn't have that information will do. For example, when Romeo hears about Juliet's death he doesn't know that Juliet had actually drunk the sleeping potion the Friar gave her. Since it is a tragic play, it would mean that such use of dramatic irony will lead the character to some tragic end. Consequently, Romeo decides to kill himself and "be with...